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Friday, May 10, 2013

An ‘Interspecies Jam’ With The Cicadas



Any day now the cicadas will be emerging all along the east coast. The cicadas in this cycle, known as Brood II, have been maturing underground for the last seventeen years.

They will crawl up when the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees and experts expect there to be nearly nearly 600 cicadas for ever one person. They emerge to mate, but they will also make a lot of noise.

David Rothenberg is a professor of music and philosophy at New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the author of Bug Music, and the companion cd that incorporates cicada sounds with human music.

Rothenberg told Here and Now‘s Robin Young that what may sound like a drone to some is actually a very complex sound.

“Whenever the periodic cicadas emerge, we’re getting three species of them and each species makes three different sounds, so up to nine different sounds are made by periodic cicadas,” he said.


  • David Rothenberg, a professor of music and philosophy at New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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